Oddball alert! A guy wearing headphones sits strangely close to me and asks whether I like “communist romcoms.” There’s no space for edging over. I answer, “Well, I hope so. I’m reviewing this piece”. Then he tells me the Black Keys song playing in the background is his favourite. Then it goes quiet and the same song is playing on his headphones. He sings along exuberantly.Needless to say, he’s part of the show.
According to His Need is an intelligent piece; witty and energetic as well as a display of obvious learning.
According to His Need is a brisk, well-structured comedy gently satirising both po-faced, humourless hard-line student revolutionaries and identity-political pseuds. It is also a romcom: boy joins Socialist party only to meet girls after a dry spell. Boy meets girl, things get weird. We laugh. Mock-serious exchanges on aesthetics and Foucault are mixed with awkward sex and some cracking one-liners. 17-year-old writer Oliver Eagleton certainly knows his Marxist theory (his father Terry has probably been on the reading list of every English Literature undergrad in the UK) but here he is most prominently a crafter of comedy; the politics is almost entirely a vehicle for laughs. You will enjoy this show even without the ability to recall passages of Das Kapital.
Michael-David McKernan, playing Nick, was not phased at all by happening upon a reviewer on the first night of his run. His instantly likable and charming presence resulted in a warm and beguiling performance. Ardal O’Hanlon came to mind and not just due to the accent. Hannah Mamalis’ Cass was an excellent contrast: tight-lipped, monotonous, cold.
Their attempt to ‘combine ontology with orgasms’ is obviously doomed from the start, but they are an engaging pair. Cass’ caustic sarcasm neatly interacts with Nick’s playful bantering in a way that might force a smile even from the most sullen and irony-immune of SWP ideologues.
According to His Need is an intelligent piece; witty and energetic as well as a display of obvious learning. It satirises the left, but lovingly so. This successful attempt at mixing comedy and politics makes for a pleasing start to the Fringe.